Q: With whom was your favourite colaboration, among those with Therion, Avantasia, and Kai Hansen?Almost 1 year ago we ran a live chat with Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian. There were too many of you to fit in all of your questions, but Hansi agreed to answer questions via email after the chat. So we gathered the questions together and sent them off.
Things don't always happen quickly, and it has taken almost 12 months, but we finally have the answers to your questions, and you can now see them all here!
A: This is a very difficult question. For us as a band the work with Kai Hansen has been the most exciting experience. For me, as a musician, I have to split it into backing vocals and lead vocals:
As a vocalist I really loved the work with Angra - who have given absolute justice to my voice and have given me great parts in the song - and my recent work with Solar Fragment. In terms of backing vocals I enjoyed working on the two Grave Digger albums the most.
Q: What is your relationship with Thomen like these days? Have has it crossed your mind to contact Thomen about playing drums on the next D&W album?
A: We have a good but not to close relationship these days. There simply is not enough time to catch up as often as we should. We talk on the phone from time to time and he sometimes comes by when we are in the studio. To be honest, I never really thought about having him in Demons and Wizards. That ´s because I mainly leave the choice of musicians for the project to Jon. An interesting idea, nonetheless.
Q: Is there a chance to have the next fan club meeting in Krefeld or wherever?
A: I doubt that. Since we do not have a German fan club these day. I have discussed this general fanclub issue with our webmaster and we still have not made a decision how to proceed in terms of a fanclub. As a compromise we have had some meet and greets in Germany at the very least. We do that from time to time - when asked by promoters.
Q: A question about your latest oriental music approach since I'm from the middle east (Syria) are you interested in oriental music in general? Also from where did you get the "Fayiz Seidawi Arabic beat loops"? Syria??
A: We like all kinds of music and of course oriental music has a very special atmosphere which excites us as musicians a lot. It is so different from our European approach in creating music. Therefore it is a big challenge to combine both worlds. Still some artists like for instance Loreena Mc Kennit try to weave it in as a part of their music. That mingling of cultures was what inspired us to create these particular sections. Once we have made up the decision Charlie started chasing via internet for the right elements to be involved. He finally ended up on Fayiz homepage and was amazed by the sounds presented there. Once introduced by Charlie to us, we were sure that the quest was over.
Q: First of all, congratulations for your concert in Milan last October. I¡¯ll be on Wacken this summer, and I want to know if there could be a meet & greet with the fans like last year. If yes and if you plan to participate, how could the fans have the chance to meet you? I hope to meet you live on Wacken.
A: Thanks. Wacken is always special for us. I could see a autograph session like the one we did last year on one of the Wacken days, but I doubt that we will have the time for a real meet and greet.
Q: Do you plan to record anything more with Van Canto in the future?
A: Only time will tell:-) Since Stefan already is a new member of our choir company it is very possible:-)
Q: What do You think about "At The Edge Of Time" album now? It's about 9 months since it's released, so...
A: One of the best albums we have done so far. It has the potential to become a classic metal album for many people like "Imaginations ..." or "Nightfall ...". I still have nothing to complain about it.
Q: I've been an ardent fan of Blind Guardian for years, I even spoke to you prior to a show in Massachusetts as you were leaving an interview but I didn't notice it was you until it was too late (this saddens me to this day). To work with or for Blind Guardian would be an amazing life-changing experience so I ask: Who would I contact for either volunteer or employment opportunities? I'm very much so a jack of all trades and am building my experience working with the manager for the artist Sir Mix A Lot, I'm also graduating with a Bachelor's degree this Spring. Please let me know if this is at all possible to do! Thank you for your time and as always... Rock on, my friend.
A: Thanks for the compliment. It is probably easiest if you sent more contacts, so Charlie could contact you and crosscheck with you if there is a need in terms of studio work. As for business and touring we have a very precious team, I am sorry to say.
Q: Is there a song from the new album which is mandatory in most of the tour? (Sacred Worlds in Brazil tour)
A: Definitely "Sacred Worlds" would come closest to such a status. Even this song has been skipped for certain occasions. Brazil(like whole South- and Latin American) is blessed, because this is when we will involve some additional songs from "At the Edge ..." and "Nightfall..." to the playlist:-) Wheel of Time is pretty much on every setlist, too. Though this is still a tough challenge.
Q: Hansi, is orchestral project inspired or influenced by some of classical composers, could you tell them or recommend me some of your favourite authors of classical music?
A: No, it is not. It is total free style. There might be adaptions, but since André or either I always turn it into a clompletely directions, I suppose (and hope) that even this will be very rare. Matthias Ulmer and Charlie Bauerfeind do also have a very big share in this monstrous project. First classical albums coming into my mind would be Mozart "Requiem", Bach "Brandenburger Konzerte", Händel "Messiah" or Beethoven "9th Symphony". Sometimes the famous stuff can also be the good stuff.
Q: Are you planning on writing a song in German, since you had an Italian, a French and two Spanish versions of "Harvest of Sorrow"? I always wondered why you didn't do a version in German.
A: Let me put it this way: I ´d rather try to improve my Spanish or French, first, instead of singing anything in German. If that will be proven a failure, I will start learning Italian ... Maybe some dark spoken words on one of the next D&W albums could be an option, though. There is some spoken stuff in "My Last Sunrise".
Q: If you were to see/hear a very talented musician (on the street or on a demo tape), and you were very very impressed by his talent, would you try to support him in his musical career?
A: I have witnessed many talented street musicians, but have never done anything. So, I have to say "no". On the other hand if I saw a very talented band "live" or would get a very impressive demo cd, I definitely would help to promote them.
Q: A number of high-profile bands who get their start and rise playing speedy, fantasy-themed power metal later move away from the style, sing in lower registers, slow down their material, sing about more "real" stuff, etc. But Blind Guardian has never really done this - you remain committed to fantasy themes, bombastic choruses, and all the traditional hallmarks of good power metal... Why do you think that is, when so many contemporaries have gone through radical stylistic changes?
A: 99% of these bands sucked when they played Power Metal and and the exact same amount of bands sucked when they changed their style. That ´s how I look at it. Not every musician can be considered to be David Bowie, to say it this way -not even Metallica, who have released numerous masterpieces before they really started changing with "Load", which still has some good moments.
As for the others: To be honest, the definite majority were not half talented, or dedicated to their music as we still are, when they started. From the very early beginning we had a far bigger playground and musically were able to bring in as many new elements as we wanted. Some people, of course, complain about this circumstance, but this is what keeps us fresh and interesting I would suppose. Other bands have far stricter patterns and therefore reach their limits much quicker.
Q: Will the Travelers at the Edge of Time be released on DVD? I won't be able to make it to LA and it seems like a great documentary.
A: It has turned out to be a really great documentary, even beyond my expectations. Therefore we decided to keep on working on it and make it even more special. My first intention was to spread it via internet, but it simply is too good. We work on a DVD, so it could end up on the DVD. In a far future, of course.
Q: I noticed at the Asheville show that you like to give Marcus a hard time on stage. You guys must have a pretty tight nit friendship. How much do you value his part in the band? Obviously you and Andre write the majority of the music, but what does Marcus bring to the table that makes him such and intricate part of the band?
A: Did I? I cannot even recall:-) The toughest time he most probably had in Phoenix -I have to say. Sometimes it is André, or one of the other nameless guys, I have an eye on:-). It barely ever is done on purpose. Something special is coming to my attention and then I just let my hair down. We have a very close relationship, so Marcus has no problems in being my victim from time to time. Marcus creates great music from time to time. He also gets along with André or me, which is not always easy.
Q: My favourite song is "imaginations from the other side", the lyrics really touch me, I wonder what inspired you guys to write them, generally speaking, except books, and who composed the lyrics for that song?
A: It really has been a discussion with a metal journalist, who revealed to us, that he is not inspired by fantasy or mythology in general. It is a common phenomena that those people consider themselves to be absolute pundits and very sophisticated and they have a general tension to underrate such concepts and the music connected to it. They do not understand anything - not even the easiest messages - but believe each word of Eddie Vedder (for example) is an ultimate message to mankind. There is only one Bob Dylan, or Neil Young but a lot of clones. People often do not understand that literature or lyrics inspired by it have a strong impact on real life. Those people are always very quick with "Escapism from Reality" as a defintion for it, which it is not at all.
Q: In the future will there be a co-operation with any other famous Power Metal artists? I think you should ask from Mr.Michael Kiske to make a song! Also will you please make some songs with Mr.Stefan Elmgren or with Joacim Cans?
A: You never know. Nothing like this is planed so far. I would love to work with Kai Hansen, again, as mentioned during the chat.
Q: Hansi, it is still a far way away, but have you given any thought to lyrical topics and/or musical direction for the album after the Orchestral Project? It will surely be interesting considering Blind Guardian have either re-defined or created genres with every release since TFTTW.
A: It is a very tough challenge. Since the music speaks such a clear language, I will have to come up with something very special. I won ´t say this issue gives me sleepless nights, but it is the most complex musical and lyrical project we have ever worked on.
Q: I love the old BG' stuff, you said that you¡¯ll performe Ride into obsession in the next shows, but will songs like Precious Jerusalem or Curse of Feanor ever be performed live?
A: Jerusalem is no option. For years and years we try to find a suitable way for "Curse of Feanor" and we are not that far from finding a solution for it. Ride into Obsession also is in the making ...
Q: As you are good at storytelling can we expect some day a book or a short story from you?
A: This might become true. I have worked on several short stories and will keep on doing so
Q: You said yesterday at the live chat, that you're recording a new version of 'And Then There Was Silence', or at least that's what many of us understood, so it's going to be part of the orchestral project? (Nahuel Oddo)
A: No, this is not going to be the case. We discuss a "Best of" album.
Q: I heard about a new release of A Night At The Opera with a better mixing, it is possible?
A: Most of the stuff(starting with "Tales") might be remixed during the next years. Especially in terms of "ANATO" "better" is very relative. Different would be a better word. Many did not understand "ANATO", because they could not find a red line given by the lead vocals for example. We would try to feature this a little more with a next mixing.